Stepping through the door, the first sense to activate is my nose. 


I look around. I’m inside a home. Windows and doors and solid walls. So basically the home is doing its job of keeping all the outside stuff . . . Outside and ditto with the inside stuff in. We’re not talking hermetic, airtight seals here, but the only stuff that might’ve got in was when I opened the door and came through, so that would be stuff from my previous world.

So why does it smell like I’m standing insight a lit cigarette?

Okay, a little hyperbole there. But only in that it’s pretty much physically impossible to do what I just said. Nevertheless, the smell of smoke in this house is . . . Beyond pervasive. It’s in everything. The furniture. The fixtures. The walls. It’s just part of this house. 

I look out the window and I can see why. It looks . . . Foggy out there. Kind of dark. Everything shrouded. Except I can tell by the distorted, filtered light that it’s not fog but smoke. A lot of smoke. Giving it that post-apocalyptic zombie-movie feel. 

I know it’s smoke out there because I’ve seen conditions like this before. I’ve personally experienced them.

If you’re from California, as I’ve said before, you’re likely familiar with earthquakes. There’s another thing you’re probably familiar with on some level. 



You might think that smoke is smoke, and comes in only one variety. You’d be wrong. Each type of smoke has its own makeup, its own melange . . . It’s own chemical cocktail if you will. They all smell different. You’ve got your distinctive barbecue flavor. The wood-burning fireplace scent. The campfire in the woods particular bouquet. They’re all specific smells. And for the most part, people enjoy some or all of them. You can’t beat the sharp woody scent of a wood-burning fire on a frosty morning, or an icy night. It unavoidably congers images of warm cozy homes with hot chocolate and smores.

Wildfires are a little different. They’re uncontrolled. They’re . . . Out of control. Sure, there are such things as controlled fires that the forestry service conducts to prevent future raging wildfires, but they’re usually on the small scale. The thing about a wildfire is that once it gets going – especially when it’s in the middle of nowhere – it gets going fast. Add a good strong wind and it becomes an uncontrollable beast, consuming acres and acres of forest in a short amount of time. And with that raging fire comes an immense amount of smoke. These types of wildfires definitely have an effect on people, and again for the most part, they’re in very rural or even undeveloped areas, so we’re not talking about a lot of people. 

And sometimes these wildfires can be so wild that they race into a nearby town or urban area, and then you’ve got a big problem on your hands. I’ve personally seen the devastating effects from these fires. In October of 2017 the Tubbs fire ripped through Napa and Sonoma counties, in Northern California, burning 36,810 acres. 22 people were killed. 5,643 structures were destroyed, including 2,800 homes in Santa Rosa. The damage was estimated at $1.2 billion. It was the second most destructive fire in California’s history. Second, because the most destructive fire in California’s history happened the following year. In November of 2018, the Camp Fire ripped through Butte County, just a few hours further north, burning 153,336 acres. 86 people were killed. It destroyed 18,804 structures. The retirement town of Paradise no longer exists because of it. The damage was estimated at $7.5 – 10 billion.

So why am I giving you this brief history lesson and spouting all these facts at you? Well, I’m Jake Fisher, so you should be used to this sort of treatment by now. 

Okay, only kidding. I know that’s no excuse.

It’s the smoke.

You know what barbecue smoke smells like. It’s pretty recognizable. Same thing with campfires. That particular woody burning smell. Can’t beat it. 

But a wildfire . . . That’s just a recognizable, but instead of being familiar and comforting, it’s fucking terrifying. Especially when you’ve spent weeks going to work wearing a smoke mask as you leave your home, riding BART, and in the elevator up to your floor. Then you take it off; for a moment the suffocating smoke smell is even stronger, then it finally dissipates. The AC has done its job and you can work. Then, at the end of the day, you get back in the elevator and head to the ground floor and pretty soon you start noticing the smoke, breathing it in. You forgot about it. The mask is out and back on and then you’re out walking in the thick smoke fog again back to your home. And now you’re thinking what an insensitive asshole you are for bitching about having to deal with all the smoke, when there are literally thousands of people who no longer have a place to live, and ten of others who were burned to death, trapped in their very childhood homes.

The scent is a capsule of all these memories and thoughts and emotions. Much like Ebenezer Scrooge experienced when he returned via the ghost of Christmas past to his old boarding school, except these feelings and recollections are nothing but pain and badness. And now to be in a world where this is just everyday life . . . Possibly? I don’t know and maybe I don’t want to know.

[Door unlocking, opening and slamming closed]


JAKE [whispering]: Oh shit.

RHANA: Who the fuck are you?

JAKE: Ummm . . .

RHANA: Who the fuck are you? Answer me!

JAKE: I’m . . . My name is Jake Fisher.

RHANA: And what are you doing here?

JAKE: It’s . . . It’s kind of a long story.

RHANA: How did you get inside? It was locked. I unlocked it.

JAKE: That’s . . . Part of the long story.

RHANA [getting angry]: Well, you better start telling me that story, or I’m gunna start wailing on your ass.

JAKE [trying to calm Rhana down]: Okay, okay. Take it easy. I don’t mean any harm. I’m . . . [whisper] God, I’m so sick of saying this. [end whisper] I’m from another world. I . . .

RHANA [furious]: Bullshit!

JAKE: [Sigh] It’s true.

RHANA: Fucking bullshit.

JAKE: Smell me.

RHANA [shocked]: What? What the hell did you just say?

JAKE: Smell me. 

RHANA: Now why would I do that?

JAKE: Because I don’t smell like you . . . No, it’s not what you think. I don’t smell like I from here. From this world. I don’t smell of smoke.

RHANA [disbelief]: Really? But . . . How I can trust you? How do I know you won’t just smack me upside the head the second I get close to you?

JAKE: Because I won’t, but I know that’s not good enough. Here. I’ll sit on the couch. Put my hands under my legs. That way if I try anything you’ve got time to jump out of the way.

RHANA: Or punch you in the face.

JAKE [amused]: Yeah, I guess. Or that.

RHANA: Okay. Do that.

[Sitting sound]

JAKE: What’s your name? As I said, I’m Jake.

RHANA: Rhana.

JAKE: That’s a really pretty name.

RHANA: Thank you. Now stay the fuck still.

JAKE: Yes ma’am.

RHANA: Don’t fucking call me that.

JAKE: No m—, sorry Rhana. I won’t.

RHANA: [emphatic sniffing sound] [disbelief:] Holy shit. [another sniffing sound] Holy fucking shit. You’re right! I don’t smell smoke!

JAKE: Told ya.

RHANA: I smell . . . Other things. Food. And oil. And sweat.

JAKE: Er, yeah, sorry about that. I’ve been . . . Traveling for a long while. Haven’t really had the chance to shower.

RHANA: Huh, no shit. I’d offer you one, but water is kind of a precious resource here.

JAKE: So there’s really smoke all the time?

RHANA: Yes! Where the fuck have you . . . Oh right. It started out like all fires do, except they didn’t get stopped and kept getting bigger. Whole towns went up. Then cities. A lot of people died. Burned to a crisp. You can’t go outside now without a mask. Unless you’ve given up and want to go the hard way.

JAKE: Fuck that’s brutal. I can’t . . . I can’t imagine a world like that.

RHANA: Your world isn’t like that?

JAKE: No. None of the worlds I’ve visited have ever been like this one.

RHANA: Starless.

JAKE: Huh?

RHANA: Starless. It’s what I call this world now. Because I don’t see the stars anymore.

JAKE: Jesus. I’m so sorry. 

RHANA: How do you do it? Get from world to world?

JAKE: It’s . . . It’s nothing to do with me. At leased I don’t think it is. There’s this place called Ostium where it all started. And these doors lead to different places in time, different worlds. And now I’m trying to find my way back to Ostium. Trying to find that right door.

RHANA: So it could be this one?

JAKE: Yes, it could be. I never know until I go through.

RHANA: Well we better get you out of this world and into the next one. How much time do you have?

JAKE: A little. 

RHANA: How do you know?

JAKE: It’s a sense I have. I am sort of connected with this whole Ostium thing, though I don’t really know how.

RHANA: Damn that’s messed up. Okay. You need to get on your way.

JAKE: Thank you, Rhana. For . . . For believing me. For helping me.

RHANA: You’re welcome.

JAKE: This all could’ve gone a very different way. Why do you trust me?

RHANA: [breath] Because . . . Because I have to. I have to believe . . . I have to believe there are better worlds than this one. And you are my hope. My belief.

JAKE: That’s beautiful. 

RHANA: Aw, shucks. Now, get a move on.

JAKE: Actually, there’s a little favor I need. I’ve been bringing back little trinkets from each of the worlds I visit. Something that has meaning to this place. To . . . Starless.

RHANA [serious]: That helps . . . A little. Here, I’ve got this. [Taking something from a box] 

JAKE: What is it? A charred piece of wood?

RHANA: It’s . . . A memento. From the house I grew up in. Burned to the ground like everything fucking else in this world. But I wanted to keep a piece. Thought it would be sentimental, but honestly, I haven’t thought about it or looked at it in ages.

JAKE: Thank you again, Rhana. That’s perfect. And for what it’s worth: don’t give up. You’re alive. There might be somewhere out there that’s still standing. Where there’s no smoke.

RHANA: You read my mind, man. I think about that every time I go to bed at night. And every morning I’m thankful I’ve got another day to try and find it.

JAKE: I’d offer to take you with me, but I don’t think the laws of the universe would allow it. Plus, you probably wouldn’t come.

RHANA: Damn right I wouldn’t. I belong here. In Starless. 

JAKE: Well, see you in another life, maybe. Rhana: it was a pleasure meeting you.

RHANA: You too Jake.

JAKE: Thanks.

[Door opening, door closing].

RHANA [quietly]: There’s gotta be a better world than this one.


Penelope Dyer as QILA

Dwayne Farver as Alan

Georgia Mckenzie as Monica

[The scene starts in the black void.  There is a low wind, barely audible.  We hear “the sound” – a ringing (like tinnitus) starting low and quickly getting louder, it ends in an echoing or pulsing crescendo that quickly fades to nothing.]


Alan[out of breath, heavy breathing]

(annoyed – but definitely joking)

QILA – And that’s why we can’t have nice things

(faux anger then concern then humor)

Alan – Sure!  Go to the deep past, she says.  What could go wrong, she says!  I never gained full control of the body.  Their leader was fighting me!  They thought I was a messenger from whatever God they were worshiping!   Oh no — I didn’t start a religion, did I?  Because I can go back? (laughing)

(Joking, then standard QILA)

QILA – I think they’re confused enough by one visit as their shaman.  A quick scan of their timeline shows no appreciable changes.  But it’s good to know that a forceful personality is more difficult to slip into.

[A new sound begins. low, growing, as similar to the sound of the TARDIS as possible, without violating copyright]


Alan – What the!  QILA, what is making this sound?

(standard QILA)

QILA – Unknown.  I believe we’re getting a visitor.

[sound ends]

(frustrated/confused – shocked)

Monica – Where am I now?  And where’s the ground?


Alan – Ahem.

(shocked – confused)

Monica – Whoa!  Where did you come from?


Alan – I didn’t want to alarm you.  You’re safe here.  But, uh, who are you?  How did you get here?

(confused – annoyed)

Monica – Safe is a relative term, but I’m Monica and I have no idea how I got here.


Monica – So, who are you?  How did you get here?  Where is here?

(friendly – then awkward)

Alan – I’m sorry, I’m Alan.  And this place was created as I died.  Oh, but, that’s not how it usually happens.


Monica – What are you saying?


Alan – I’m not explaining this well.  QILA, can you help?


Monica – Quill-a?

(standard QILA)

QILA – Hello Monica, it’s nice to meet you.  I’m QILA.  Quantum Interpretive and Learning Algorithms.  The location where you now find yourself is a null pocket; removed from normal space-time.  It is better described as a place of thought, rather than normal definitions of dimension.  Alan gained the ability to move his mind though time.  Since his corporeal existence ended, this is where his mind returns by default.  I – am an Artificial Intelligence he met on one of his journeys.


Monica – Uh huh.  Time travel.  So, Alan.  You’re here.  At least your mind is.  How is an artificial intelligence here, if this place is defined by thought?


QILA – My existence is no longer defined by hardware.  I am – self-aware.  I continue to grow and learn.  Your mind is here, but your body is elsewhere.


Monica – Fair enough.


QILA – Monica?  I didn’t think anyone but Alan could enter here.  Can you provide any information about how you arrived here?


Alan – Yeah, that might be my fault.  As I was returning, I felt something strange.  It was like walking through water.  Sluggish.  I thought it was because I was so far in the past, so I just used more effort to get back. But, I think I picked up a passenger on my way.


Alan – Monica, that must mean – you’re a time traveler!  I don’t think I would have been able to pull you here otherwise.


Monica – I was part of a team that used technology to open doors to other places and times.  But Jake, he was able to create doors without the technology.  And now I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again.


Alan – Why do you say that?


Monica – He was being a hero, like always.  To protect me, he sacrificed himself.  And we’re both lost.  I’ve been trying to find him.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever get back to The Ostium Network.


Alan – Wait, The Ostium Network?  Is that related to the town of Ostium?


Monica – Yes.  It was constructed to house the doors.


Alan – QILA, this is the town you found.  The town with the “population zero” sign.


Monica – You’ve seen Ostium?


QILA – I will open the window to show you.

[subtle chime]


QILA – This is focused on the door that we saw open.


Monica – Door 2.  It seems like so long ago.  That’s definitely Ostium.


Alan – But where did I snag you?  We need to get you back there.  To your body.  QILA, is there anything we can do?  If I know where to go, maybe Monica will be pulled along with me.


QILA – Way ahead of you.  You’re going back to New San Francisco.  To the field, just after you left the body of Thomas Redwind.


Monica – After you did what now?


Alan – For lack of a better word, I “borrow” a body when I travel through time. 


Monica – Okay.  Morally ambiguous, but if you can get me back, let’s go.


Alan – QILA, I’ll be right back.

[sound – begins again. grows fast]

[a small crowd is in the distance.  we’re far enough away that nothing specific can be heard]

[a larger version of a drone flies overhead]


Alan – Okay, where is Monica? [walking]  Down this path.  There, that building.  [opens door] 


Alan – Monica?  It’s me, Alan.  Are you okay?

(confused from the journey)

Monica – Let’s just say, I’ll stick to the technology I know.  


Alan – Speaking of that …

(looking around the room – seeing the Ostium door down the hall)

Monica – Right, hmmm.  There, down the hall.



Alan – There’s actually a sign above the door that says “Ostium?”  

[Tries to open door (it’s locked) ]  

(confused / scared)

Monica – They’re never locked!


Alan – Ummm,  [(looks around, pats pockets) – finds security badge] Here, lets try this access badge. (under breath) Thanks QILA. security officer was a good call.

[door beeps, unlocks and open]  


Alan – Monica, here.  Take the security badge.  And, good luck finding Jake.


Monica – Thanks Alan.  I hope you know what you’re doing here.  Your heart seems like it’s in the right place.  And, maybe we’ll cross paths again.  But I won’t recognize you, will I?


Alan – Probably not, but you never know.  I’m working on that too.
[Ostium door closes]



TAYLOR: Middle/Below is rated “PG” and contains mild threat, and mild language.

JAKE: Ooh, so I’ll have to watch my f-bombs.

TAYLOR: Yes, you will. 

JAKE: It’s all Monica’s fault really.

TAYLOR: Okay. This is where we usually say something funny, so go ahead.

JAKE: Something funny.


JAKE: Well, this is different. It’s all foggy and hazy, sort of like that alternate Ostium place where that crone thing took me. I gotta admit, I was real excited at first. I even thought I’d made it back to Ostium, or at least that alternate version, which at least put me in the Ostium ballpark and from there I could work my way back to the Ostium Network. But less than thirty seconds later I can tell this definitely isn’t any version of Ostium, but something completely new. 

Because a ghost has just materialized out of the ether right in front of me . . . and he’s talking to me.


GIL: Hello. Are you okay?

JAKE: I . . . Think so. How about yourself?

GIL: No too bad, considering I’m a ghost.

JAKE: Yeah, I noticed that. And you’re also admitting it. So I can’t claim I’m having a mental episode or something?

GIL: No, not really. When you’re in the Below, ghosts are pretty much a guarantee. Also, you sound like you’re from America?

JAKE: Yeah. I am. And now I’m in the . . . Below you said?  

GIL: Yes. Normally, people like you are in the Middle. But now you appear to be in the Below, which isn’t right.

JAKE: People like me?

GIL: Yes. Not ghosts, like me.

JAKE: Ahh, I see . . . Sort of. I think. I’m Jake by the way. So am I the first . . . Er . . . Living being to be in the Below?

GIL: Oh, hi Jake, I’m Gil. Actually we prefer the term “corporeal entity,” while us ghosts are “incorporeal entities.” [Can switch out these terms to more exact ones]. And no, you’re not the first; actually we have your types down here all the time.

JAKE: All the time? So it’s no biggie me being in the Below?

GIL: Oh no, it’s very dangerous. You could easily be killed by just about anything.

JAKE: Even . . . By you?

GIL: Oh, I don’t know. No one’s ever asked me to kill them before. I expect I could. If I really tried.

JAKE: Well, let’s not find out. Okay?

GIL: Okay.

JAKE: So what should I do not to get killed in the Below?

GIL: Stay out of trouble.

JAKE: And how do I do that exactly?

GIL: I’m not really sure. But I do know someone who can help. His name’s Taylor.

JAKE: Is he a ghost too?

GIL: Oh no. He’s from the Middle. Like you.

JAKE: Oh yeah. That would be good. Can you get him . . . Here?

GIL: Sure. Be back in a bit.

And before my very eyes, Gil discorporates and I’m all alone. It’s then I take in more details of where I am. There’s a disconcerting quiet about the place. A coldness that feels like it’s starting to sink into my very bones. It’s probably not going to be long before I start shivering. It’s not exactly dark here – like the other Ostium – but definitely on the dingy side, like you’re in a lighted room with some strong sunglasses on and you just want to take them off so you can see better. And as I’m looking around in the distance, I think I’m starting to see movement. Wisps of white making themselves known . . . To me no doubt.

I sure hope this Taylor guy shows up soon.


[Buttering Toast]

TAYLOR: You know, I really like toast.


TAYLOR: No, you can’t have any. 


GIL: Taylor! Taylor! You need to go to the Below!

TAYLOR: Hi Gil. You know, I really wish you’d knock or something, instead of just surprising me all the time. What if I was naked?

GIL: I’m a ghost, remember? Can’t touch anything. Can’t knock on any doors or walls. Anyway, why would you be naked?

TAYLOR: I believe you said something about my needing to go to the Below?

GIL: Oh, yes. There’s a guy down there. One of you mortals. An American.

TAYLOR: A Yank? What’s he doing down there?

GIL: I don’t know. He sounds pretty scared actually. I said you could help and that made him a bit happier.

TAYLOR: Let me get my bag.


JAKE: I’ve moved into the shadows, under the overhang of an old building. Through windows I can see lots of boxy shapes. I think this place might’ve once been an arcade of some sort. But I’m pretty hidden here and it’s intentional. Those wisps of white I mentioned earlier turned into a bunch of class-five free-roaming vapors. They didn’t see me; at least I don’t think they did. 

They’re still hovering around now, a little bit closer, but still far enough away that my heart-rate’s only going double the usual rate.

And then a door opens nearby and I almost jump out of my skin. It’s a tall, thin guy who looks really pale. Oh, and that ghost I saw earlier. Gil. Hopefully this is Taylor.

TAYLOR: Gil, go see if you can do something about your friends over there.

GIL: They’re not my friends. I’ve never met them in my life.

TAYLOR: You know what I mean. Go deal with them, please.

GIL: Alright. If I can.

TAYLOR: Hi, I’m Taylor. And you are?

JAKE: Jake. And really glad to see you. Gil said this is the . . . Below?

TAYLOR: Yes. And we need to get you back to the Middle.

JAKE: The Middle? So like the land of the living? Middle . . . Earth if you will?

TAYLOR: That’s actually pretty funny. I might start using that. Do you mind if I do?

JAKE: Be my guest. So if there’s a Middle and a Below, is there an Above?


JAKE: What’s that place like?

TAYLOR: I don’t know. I only deal with the Middle and the Below and making sure the right people and beings are where they’re supposed to be.

JAKE: Wow, so kind of a superpower? Cool. So do you magic them from the Below to the Middle and vice-versa?

TAYLOR: Not exactly. Usually I use doors.

JAKE: Oh really. I’m very familiar with that process. It’s how I ended up here from my time.

TAYLOR: Your . . . Time?

JAKE: Yeah, I’m kind of a time-traveler. Started at a place called Ostium and each door there takes me to a different place in time. Only now I’m trying to get back there. And so far . . .

TAYLOR: No luck?

JAKE: No. I keep ending up in all these different worlds and meeting some incredible people, like yourself, but my goal is still to get back there. 

TAYLOR: Okay, Jake. I could question everything you just said, but it looks like it’s been a very long day for you and I’d rather get back to my toast. So I’ll help you.

JAKE: Thank you. I really appreciate it.

GIL: I got rid of them for you.

TAYLOR: Thank you Gil. We’re about to send Jake on his way.

GIL: Leaving so soon?

JAKE: Yeah, I’m ready to get out of this . . . Unfriendly place.

GIL: Hey, this is my home.

JAKE: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any insult . . .

GIL: I’m only kidding. It is my home, but the Below is no place for those who don’t belong here.

TAYLOR: Alright, let’s get a move on them.

JAKE: Actually, I’ve got one last favor to ask: I need a little memento from the Below. Each world I’ve visited I’ve brought something from back with me. Not exactly sure why yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be important.

TAYLOR: I’ve got just the thing.

[Looking in bag]

TAYLOR: Here you go.

JAKE: A yo-yo?

GIL: Another one? How many of those do you have?

TAYLOR: Lots. You never know when you’re going to need one.

JAKE: This is perfect. Thank you, Taylor. Thanks Gil. For all your help. I’m ready now.

[Door opening sound]

TAYLOR: After you Jake. Go on through.

[Short pause]

[Door closing sound]

JAKE: Where am I now? Is that a cat?


JAKE: Oh hi, I’m Jake. 


JAKE: Good to meet you. I’m actually trying to find my way out. 


JAKE: Yeah, I guess I can try the door I just came through. Wait! Do you . . .


JAKE: You know about traveling through doors, like I do?


JAKE: You know about Ostium?


JAKE: That’s incredible. Well, I really need to get going.


JAKE: No, you coming with me would not be a good idea.


JAKE: Thanks for understanding.


JAKE: It was a pleasure meeting you too. Maybe we’ll meet again in another life . . . Behind another door?


[Door opening, then closing]



Hey everyone, Alex C. Telander here. Little bit of housekeeping before we get today’s episode started. Firstly, thank you so much for continuing to listen to Ostium. With everyone going on right now, Team Ostium hope it provides a nice warm light during these pretty bleak times. That being said, we will be going on our first mid-season hiatus with the release of the next episode after this one. I want to give all our future crossover shows every opportunity to get their side of the recording done, but I also understand this is really hard right now. So we’ll be going on a three month break and returning with Episode 52 on September 6th. We also want send out a massive thank you to all our Patrons who continue to support the show, without you we wouldn’t be able to pay our actors, or have a website, or many other things that keep the lights on for the Ostium Network. So thank you. And Team Ostium wants to extend an extra large thank you and warm welcome to our newest patron, Nse. Okay, enough chitchat, let’s get this milestone started: I without further ado I give you Ostium Episode 50: Guild of Adventurers.

Scene: 1 – The Luminarium (Dark)

(Monica arrives in the city of dorestir to nothing but blackness, standing the basement level hidden section of the “guild of adventurers” – the luminarium)


Fucking great, it’s pitch black. [Beat] Hellooooooo?

SOUND: “hello” echoes and silence


[Pause for response] Nothing… I’ve got a light here somewhere.

SOUND: lighter being “flicked on” and lights


Oh… great… now I can see I’m in a fucking stone room. [Beat] HELLOO?!

SOUND: “hello” echoes and silence


[Sigh] Let’s assume no one’s coming to my rescue – that’d fit with the rest of my life. So, Monica, you can’t be in here for no reason, let’s figure it out.

Scene: 2 – Interior Guild Hall

(The guild hall has been in a state of disrepair for decades. now after helping lady Illiana Alvingham defeat her evil brother Artemis, she has instigated a time of repair and renovation of this dilapidated building)

SOUND: Sawing, hammering, general “work”


[Content] Ah Lt Dan, can you imagine in only a few more weeks this whole Guild hall will hardly be recognizable.


Oh I know Captain! It’s definitely a step up from when I first joined!


[Laughing] Me too, me too…. Not in my many years here have I seen the guild looking so amazing. Ahhh, Daniella… Um, I mean, Lieutenant.


It’s OK captain, I’m not a stickler for titles.


I suppose you’re right, maybe when it’s just us, you can call me Marcus.


I would be honoured sir.




Marcus. [Awkward Silence] Well the stone masons are about to start! These rather worn flagstones will be smooth and shiny in no time!


True enough, let’s not stand in their way!

SOUND: Stone cutting, chipping

Scene: 3 – The Luminarium

SOUND: Muffled stone cutting, chipping


What the fuck is that noise? [Beat] Hello?! Can anybody hear me?

SOUND: Hitting stone wall


This is just fucking great. I get to a new place and it turns out to be a dead end. FUCK!

SOUND: Hitting stone wall repeatedly

SOUND: Stone wall shifting


Hey! This wall moves!

SOUND: footsteps fading

Scene: 4 – Interior Guild Hall

SOUND: Continued stone work


So [pause for stone work] how long do you think they’ll be working on the flooring?


Assuming there’s not [pause for stone work] unforeseen delays? It wouldn’t take them more than a day or two.


Maybe [pause for stone work] I should take everyone away for a few days [pause for stone work], until the noise subsides.


That may be a good idea Cap – ah, Marcus, we could always see if Lady’s Illiana’s manor has a spare room or two? Maybe some R&R is just the thing we all need… [cut off]

SOUND: Wilhelm scream

SOUND: stonework crumbling and collapsing

SOUND: running footsteps


[Panting] What happened?!


It looks like the floor just gave way!


Dammit! Is everyone OK?


Yes, I think it just surprised everyone.


Good, but I know Setta won’t be happy! [Beat] Lieutenant!


Yes Marcus?


Captain now Lieutenant. Can you please go and find Setta and apologize? I’m sure she won’t be happy about rubble ending up in her tunnels.


[Chuckles] Yes Captain, I’ll go an [cuts off]


[Muffled Shouting] Helloooo?!


Did you hear that? It’s coming from the hole.


Lieutenant, a torch.

SOUND: Flint on stone, lighting


Here Captain.


It looks like [beat] a staircase? Heading downwards! [Confused] This isn’t the sewer system.


[Muffled Shouting] Is there anyone up there?


[Shouting] We’re coming, hold on!


[Muffled – partly to herself] Oh thank fuck.

SOUND: Stepping down the staircase


Hmmm, a door… at the end of a staircase… underneath the Guild… [Shouting] Are you OK in there?


[Muffled] Not particularly! Can you get this door open?

SOUND: Door rattling


[Shouting] It’s locked on this side!


[Muffled] I was hoping you’d have the key!


[Shouting] I know just the thing. [beat] Mercer?!

SOUND: Robotic footsteps getting closer and stop




Get down here, I need you to open a door.

SOUND: Robotic Footsteps




It’s locked Mercer, I don’t have a key, and there’s someone trapped inside… Can you please, ah, smash it in with extreme prejudice.


[Serious] When this door opens it can never be shut again.


I’m sure we can make another one.

SOUND: Mercer turning


That, is not what I meant Captain… 

SOUND: Mercer turning

SOUND: “powering up”

SOUND: Door contact and smashing


Can you feel it Captain?


What are you talking about?


The calling, can you feel the calling?


[Coughing from the dust]


Not now Mercer! Are you OK in there?


[slight coughing] I am now.

SOUND: Monica Stepping out of room


[To Mercer] Woah! You’re a big one.


And you have opened the Luminarium and sparked the beacon into the darkness.


Is she… it? Always like this?


Always… let’s get you out of here where we can talk.

SOUND: Footsteps up staircase and into guild hall


Welcome to the Guild of Adventurers… I didn’t catch your name?


Monica. And they called you a Captain?


THE Captain – Captain Marcus Grinfold… your name however is a strange one… you’re clearly not from Dorestir?


[Chuckling] How can you tell?


The name, the clothes and, most importantly, the random appearing in a previously unknown sealed basement room in my Guild hall… you’re not some kind of… [trails off].


Kind of what?


[Comically] Undead vampire lying in wait for centuries to drain the very life from our very beings?


I fucking hope not! [Laughing]


[Laughing] Well, that’s settled then, but, how did you get down there and into MY guild?


There’s these doors.


In a sealed room?


OK THAT’S a tricky one, I don’t think the door, um, exists on your side.


That sounds like a very impractical door.


Fucking tell me about it! [Sigh]


Can you at least tell me where you came from?


I don’t suppose you’ve ever heard of Ostium?


No, but I can always check the library.


Probably no point… on the topic of unlikely things, you haven’t had any other unfamiliar strangers come through of late?


I’m afraid not.


Not surprised… [Longingly] I don’t know if I’ll ever find him…


I often find when I’m searching for something, looking within is the first step.


Wow, that’s fucking deep.


But often true.


Did you have something specific in mind, or do you often spout words of wisdom in times of need?


It’s probably easier to show you.


Show me? Show me what?


There’s an orb and, um, let’s just say it might provide you with some inner clarity.


Sure, what’ve I got to lose?


Follow me then. [Beat] Lieutenant?


[Distant, walking closer] Yes Captain?


The Lady Monica and I are just stepping out, keep an eye on things here.


Lady? Ah… Of course Captain… [Under her breath – bitterly] enjoy your walk with a random woman.

Scene: 5 – The Streets of Dorestir


[Monologue] The Captain lead me out of the Guild Hall and the site outside reminded me of something from a fantasy movie. Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones or something like that. Cobblestone streets, carts pulling produce, a group of day drunks stumbling out of a tavern. It was certainly different from any place I’d been before, but at the same time, certain elements seemed almost . . . familiar.

SOUND: Sounds of the city of Dorestir


[Monologue] We walked for a number of minutes, the Captain pointing out buildings here and there while we wound our way through streets and alleyways. The conversation moved onto my reasons for arriving in Dorestir, and naturally to Jake.


It sounds like he means a lot to you.


More than I care to admit really.


It’s hard to admit how you feel for someone.


That sounds like a loaded statement. Who have you got eyes for Captain?


[Sternly] No one…


Ahh, the sweet sounds of denial… not just a river in Egypt.




Never mind… Let me guess… Lt Dan? She certainly didn’t like the idea of the two of us heading out alone.


[Stumbling over the words] Ah, no, I mean, certainly not, she’s my subordinate.


Hey, whatever gets you going, no judgement here.


Ah, thank goodness, we’re here!

Scene: 6 – The Memory Orb


[Monologue] A nondescript wooden door, belonging to a nondescript building stood before us. The Captain opened the door and ushered me inside. The room was dark, except for a single light source in the centre, a blue light emanating from a small sphere and the Captain guided me over to it.


[Trance-Like] It’s beautiful… can you… hear it?


Touch it… it can’t hurt you.


[Trance-Like] Yes, I think I should.


[Monologue] I don’t know what came over me, but I didn’t feel in danger, my instincts told me this sphere, this orb, wasn’t dangerous. So I reached out and as soon as my fingers made contact, the world around me changed.

SOUND: Space and time warping


[Monologue] I was standing in a familiar place, the Captain next to me. I looked around and… I knew this place, sci-fi surroundings, red planet outside… The Martian base! And, hang on a minute, that’s me!

AUDIO: Ostium Episode 5 A.W.O.L (Insert dialogue from Ep5 time index 30:52 – 33:18)

SOUND: coming out of memory SFX


What, the fuck, was that?


You tell me! All that metal, and what was that blackness?


You, you could fucking see that?


Oh yes, we both experienced your memory… I am missing the necessary context, but I assume the gentlemen you so gracefully carried to bed, was Jake?


Yes! So this sphere lets you see memories?


A memory orb, yes, not a common item in this city, but I find it does help to clarify the important things in life.


So why did I see THAT memory?


Was there anything important in it?


Only that it was the first time we’d sort-of-met.


Well, clearly that’s important to you!


Can I use it again? There’s not some kind of radiation poisoning?


Other than eventual madness from overuse?


Ahh, what?


[Chuckling] Nothing, just my little joke. [Beat] Just touch it again and it should show you more.


Alright, here goes.

SOUND: memory orb SFX


Oh, we’re in Ostium…


Seems nice – impressive clock tower.


Shit! Look, that’s me, and Jake, we just kind of appeared there. Oh, this was just after the Anasazi…

AUDIO: Ostium Episode 16 Ancient Ones (Insert dialogue from Ep16 time index 28:22 – 30:21)

SOUND: memory orb SFX


[Cough] Um, that was a little awkward.


[Laughing scornfully] you a little embarrassed by some carnal activities Captain?


Only when I’m reliving them as a part of someone else’s memory.


Good point. I do miss him.


I can imagine.


But I still don’t know what to do next.


You can always try again.


OK – one last time… let’s see what you’ve got for me memory orb!


AUDIO: Ostium Episode 26 Into the Black (Insert Monica monologue from EP26 time index 36:26 – 41:24)

SOUND: memory orb SFX

SOUND: Silence / heart beating


You’re never really alone Monica. I think that’s what these memories have been trying to tell you… Every memory you make, every chance you have to think back on who you are, where you’ve come from, and who you love, reminds you that you’re never alone.


Thanks… I think I needed that. Thank you.




Speaking of needing things. How would you feel about parting with this memory orb? Not that I think it’ll work where I’m going, but, it feels important.


I suppose I can lend it… to a friend.


I can’t guarantee you’ll get it back… but I will take you up on the friend thing.


Then it’s a deal, but, how do you plan on getting home?


Oh, I’m sure my door will be waiting for me.

Scene: 7 – Farewell Guild


[Monologue] I tucked the memory orb in my pocket and we headed back through the winding streets of Dorestir, now late afternoon with the sun beginning to set. How long had I been here? We walked in silence, I could tell the Captain was processing what he’d seen in my memories, it was hard enough to have experienced them, let alone see them as an observer and try to make sense of them!


[Monologue] We walked back into the Guild Hall, the large doors closing behind us. The hall was still lit by the setting sun outside, the rays of light coming down through a stained glass window in the roof directly over the staircase that lead to the chamber I had arrived in.


[Monologue] I said my farewells to the hulking metallic frame of Mercer, who, despite having no controllable facial features seemed to manage a menacing glare with ease. I nodded at Lt Dan, who seemed to be trying to glare at me as hard as Mercer and I could tell she didn’t like what she thought of as competition for the Captain.


Well, I’d better be off.


Yes, of course.


Thanks for the memory orb!


Use it well, Monica, and good luck!


Thanks… Marcus.


[Monologue] I leaned in and gave the Captain a quick kiss on the cheek and Lt Dan looked like she was about to fucking explode. I’m such a bitch! Stepping down the stairwell I was back in the room I started in and, just as I thought, my door was there. I grabbed the handle, felt the weight of the orb in my pocket, opened the door, and stepped through.

Three adventurers travel the world of Kalanthus, uncovering hidden mysteries lost to the ravages of time in this story-driven, D&D based podcast.

While I have played many a D&D campaign in my younger years, I have yet to fully immerse myself in the world of actual play podcasts, fortunately my talented sound guys of Hail and Well Met Podcasts happen to do exactly this for fun in their great show. So if you’re looking for the right D&D podcast to get started with, and you enjoyed this crossover, then you’d better start at the beginning of Guild of Adventurers.

This episode was written by Tarran Merlo and Mike Nye.

The part of Monica is performed by Georgia Mckenzie.

All other parts are performed by Tarran Merlo.

Sound design was done by the same guys who wrote this episode, Hail and Well Met Podcasts. Check out more of their great work at hailandwellmetpodcasts.com.

The Ostium theme song was composed by Chris Fletcher.

Music featured in this episode is: “Arcadia,” “Lightless Dawn,” “Lobby Time,” “Lord of the Land,” “Rites,” “Symmetry,” “Higher,” “Variation on Egmont,” “Verano Sensual,” and “Wholesome” all by Kevin MacLeod. And “Cellophane Sam” by Looking Back. All under a Creative Commons license.

For a link to a transcript of this episode please check the show notes.

We’re all going through very hard times right now and we wanted to thank you first for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed it and we hope it provided a little merriment to your day. If you are perhaps interested in supporting the show, the best way to do that is through Patreon. Everything we make primarily goes to paying our actors for all the Ostium Network shows. We’ve got more shows planned, including an anthology series, and we want to be able to pay and support our actors. So if you can spare as little as $2 a month, that will go a long way, and also grant you access to a ton of bonus material. Just head on over to patreon.com/ostiumpodcast.

Our next episode arrives in a fortnight.


NARRATOR: Today is a special in Greater Boston. Today is the day that Jake Fisher arrives from another world through some strange time traveling device that I don’t fully understand. It’s got something to do with doors and a place called . . . Ostium. In just a few moments he’ll walk through that door and onto the platform at Alewife station on the Red Line. I don’t really know why he’s coming here, at least not yet. But perhaps once he makes his dramatic entrance, I will know and comprehend more.

And here he is now. 

Enter one Jake Fisher.

His clothes are wrinkled and disheveled, his hair unkempt. He appears to have gone through a lot. I’m curious as to when he last slept. My guess is as good as yours, even though I’m the narrator. You see Jake Fisher doesn’t belong in this world. He is a visitor here, a stranger, an interloper, one might even say . . . An intruder. 

Does he belong here? That’s a decision you will have to arrive at.

[Short pause] 

Jake Fisher is walking onto the platform, looking at the Alewife Station sign, wondering where he is and perhaps more importantly, why he is here . . .

JAKE: Are you . . . Are you talking to me?

NARRATOR: He is confused at the moment. Unsure of what is going on . . .

JAKE: You know I can hear you, right?

NARRATOR: The questions continue as he tries to understand what has happened to him, and where he has ended up this time. Perhaps Jake Fish-

JAKE: Please stop that. I can hear everything you’re saying. Who are you? Where are you?

NARRATOR: Wait, you’re telling the truth? You really can hear me?

JAKE: Yes. What’s going on here? 

NARRATOR: That . . . That has never happened before. There have been plenty of occasions where I have tried to reach someone, and even more when I have really wanted to, but all to no avail. Except now . . . Maybe it has something to do with your being from the outside? Not from here.

JAKE: Where even is here? Alewife? What kind of name is that for a train station?

NARRATOR: It is named after Alewife Brook. You are standing on a platform of the Red Line in Greater Boston.

JAKE: Boston huh? And . . . What year is it? Nothing really jumps at me indicating it’s the distant past or future.

NARRATOR: The year is 2018.

JAKE: Oh, okay then. Don’t know if I ever expected to be back in such a contemporary year, where nothing big really happened, related to Ostium at least.

NARRATOR: There is a lot happening in 2018. The incorporation of the town of Red Line. The election of its new mayor. Not to mention the whole “molasses incident.”

JAKE: The town of Red Line? I thought this was a subway line?

NARRATOR: Oh it is. But a group of people decided to make the Red Line better. More efficient. To get people to where they want to go faster. And to make this line of the T a better place for all who inhabit it. 

JAKE: Wait! If it’s its own town, then where do the people live? In homes near the stations?

NARRATOR: No. They live on the trains. Two or more people or entire families live in the train cars.

JAKE: With all those seats? Do they sleep on them? In sleeping bags perhaps?

NARRATOR: No, silly. The cars have been converted into homes for the people that live there.

JAKE: Wow, that’s something I’ve got to see.

NARRATOR: In two minutes you shall have your wish, when the 10:40 arrives.


[Train rolling into station]

JAKE: Holy shit. I thought you were kidding. You’re goddamn serious.


JAKE: They really are living on the train. Looks like most of the train cars. And there are the people, just living in their homes . . . On the train car. And the passengers get on . . . In their homes. 

NARRATOR: Indeed. And you need to get on too. 

JAKE: Why? Where are we going?

NARRATOR: You’ll see in time. 

[Train door whooshing open]

[Muttering voices]

JAKE: Hi, hi. Excuse me. Thank you. I’ll just stand here. Sorry to bother you. Don’t mind me.

JAKE [whispering]: I feel really uncomfortable right now. This feels so weird. 

NARRATOR: You shouldn’t feel so. This is just a normal day on the Red Line. 

JAKE [whispering]: Can they hear you talking to me?

NARRATOR: No. But people can hear you talking to me.

JAKE [whispering, exasperated]: That’s why I’m whispering.

NARRATOR: No shit, Sherlock.

JAKE [whispering]: Okay, I didn’t expect. Why are you even talking to me anyway? Are you Marley’s ghost or something?

NARRATOR: Very droll. No. I am the current narrator for Greater Boston, and today I am narrating your story. 

JAKE [whispering]: Do you narrate everyone’s story?

NARRATOR: Yes. There was another narrator, but he couldn’t take it anymore. He found me annoying, I suppose.

JAKE [whispering, sarcastic]: I wonder why.

NARRATOR: Unlike the other narrator, I will have you know I have free will. I don’t have to narrate your story. I choose to because you are a new player in this field and I want to know more of your story and reason for being here. But I can leave you to your own doings anytime I wish.

JAKE [whispering, desperate]: Please don’t. I . . . I need your help here. You said you were taking me somewhere.

NARRATOR: That’s not true. The train is taking you to this specific destination. I merely told you to get on said train.

JAKE: [whispering]: Okay, but you had a reason, right? 


JAKE [whispering]: So where are we going?

NARRATOR: We’re not going anywhere. I am an incorporeal being narrating this tale and have no physical location per se in this universe. You however . . .

JAKE [whispering]: Okay, fine. Where am I going?

NARRATOR: You’ll see.

JAKE: [whispering]: Dammit.


NARRATOR: You may disembark at the next station.

[Train slowing]

[Doors opening]


JAKE: Thank you for letting me into your home, and on the wonderful Red Line. [Quietly] God, this place is weird.

NARRATOR: Live here for a while. You’ll find it has its charm, its own unique ways, and a joie de vivre you won’t find elsewhere.

JAKE: Sure. I’ll take your word for it.

STRANGER: Did you say something, pal?

JAKE: No, sorry. Don’t mind me. Just talking to myself. [Quietly] Which way am I going?

NARRATOR: Exit the station and I’ll direct you.

[Going down stairs]

[Walking sound]

NARRATOR: Go right along this street. 

JAKE: No fancy street name to give me?

NARRATOR: I could, but you haven’t earned the right. You’ve shown little else but disdain for the predicament you are in here, so I will dispense with the colorful details and keep very specifically on point.

JAKE [sheepish]: Okay. I’m sorry. It’s been . . . A really long day or couple of days . . . or week. I don’t know how long it’s been since I had a chance to rest and sleep. Guess it’s making me irritable.

NARRATOR: Do you know why you are here?

JAKE: Well, I’m a time traveler of sorts, and normally I’m pretty good at going through doors and getting to where I want to go. At one point I could even create my own doors to where I needed to get to. But then I let my concentration drop, and now I’m just wandering aimlessly through time, hoping I’ll get back at some point.

NARRATOR: To this Ostium?

JAKE: Yes. And back to Monica.

NARRATOR: Someone you care for.

JAKE: Deeply.

NARRATOR: Interesting. One could describe Greater Boston as a city of people and the relationships between those people. Perhaps you have been brought here because this Monica might be here too.

JAKE: I suppose it’s possible. She might be looking for me. Trying to find me. 

NARRATOR: There are lots of people here on a similar quest: in search of one they care for.

JAKE: Isn’t that true of every city? Every town for that matter?

NARRATOR: Perhaps. But more so here. And the Red Line is part of the fabric that holds it all together.

JAKE: If you say so.

NARRATOR: I do. Take the next right, then a left.

JAKE: What about you? Do you have a story? Do you even have a name? Were you once . . . Living?

NARRATOR: Yes is the answer to all those questions. I will give you further details soon. And my name is Leon. Leon Stamatis. Take another left.

JAKE: Nice to meet you, Leon. Wherever you might be. I’m Jake. 

NARRATOR: I know you are Jake Fisher. I was granted that detail at least before you made your entrance into this world. And I am everywhere and in everything. 

JAKE: Cool. 

NARRATOR: Take the next right, then follow the road along until you reach it.

JAKE: Reach what.

NARRATOR: You’ll see.


[Fair sounds]

JAKE [excited]: Holy shit. This is where you wanted to bring me? Do I get to go on any rides?

NARRATOR: Just one. 

JAKE [hopeful]: Is it the roller coaster? Please be the roller coaster? I haven’t done anything like this in forever!


JAKE: Sweet. Do I need to get a special token, or can I just pay the attendant?

NARRATOR: You can pay the attendant. It will cost you a dollar.

JAKE: Which I do happen to have, randomly enough. I swear that wasn’t in my pocket earlier. Maybe left over from the tip I gave that pizza delivery woman.

NARRATOR: Cool story bro.

JAKE: Whatever.

JAKE: Here ya go. It’s just me. Thanks.

NARRATOR: Select the car at the very front of the line.

JAKE: I was planning to. Not many people riding the roller coaster it seems.

NARRATOR: There are reasons which I shall explain shortly.

JAKE: This is going to be such fun.

[Roller coaster sounds]

NARRATOR: I died on this roller coaster.

JAKE [shock]: What! Are you fucking serious?

NARRATOR: Yes. It’s what began this whole tale here in Greater Boston. I knew it was coming and I accepted my fate.

JAKE: You knew you were going to die? And you just let it happen . . . Could you have stopped it in some way?

NARRATOR: I suppose. But that was never part of the plan. I had scheduled it. It was meant to happen. End of story.

JAKE: Plans can change man. Don’t you have friends? Family?

NARRATOR: I do. And their lives have been irrevocably changed with my passing. 

JAKE: And that doesn’t make you feel . . . Well, like shit. For doing that to them?

NARRATOR: I . . . I never really considered it . . . Until it was too late. Until I was already dead. By then it was too late.

JAKE: You think!

NARRATOR: Right here is where it happened.

JAKE: And why the hell would you want to bring me here?

[Short pause]

NARRATOR: I . . . I haven’t been back, since it happened.

JAKE: Well, obviously. How would you?

NARRATOR: No, I suppose not. But now I have the ability to. No one else wanted to come back here. Wanted to do this again. Until you showed up.

JAKE [sarcastic]: Glad I could help facilitate your trip down memory lane.

NARRATOR: Thank you. It is appreciated.

JAKE: I was being sarcastic.

NARRATOR: I know, but my statement still stands.

[Short pause]

JAKE: Well, you sure took the fun out of riding a roller coaster. If I ever get the chance to do it again, I don’t know if I will or not. So what now?

NARRATOR: I don’t know. You did what I wanted. I have nothing more for you.

JAKE: Fine. Guess it’s time to move on. I’ll be looking for a door then. But first I need something from you.


JAKE: Yeah. I need a trinket. A little symbol of this Greater Boston you speak so highly of. To take with me on my journey.

NARRATOR: For what purpose?

JAKE: It’s a long story and I don’t have the time.

NARRATOR: I thought you were a time traveler?

JAKE: Very funny. Any ideas?

NARRATOR: How about the item on the ground next to your right foot?

JAKE: What the hell is this?

NARRATOR: It’s a puzzle box with a special item inside. Crack the puzzle, get to the item. My brother made it.

JAKE: How did it get here?

NARRATOR: That’s a long story. And I don’t have the time. Will that suffice?

JAKE: Yeah. This’ll work fine. Thanks. Where’s the nearest door?

NARRATOR: Turn 90 degrees counter-clockwise. And look straight ahead.

JAKE: Thank you. I suppose it was a pleasure meeting you, Leon. See you in another life perhaps?

NARRATOR: Very unlikely. Safe travels Jake Fisher.

[Walking away]

NARRATOR: And so exits one Jake Fisher from this world of Greater Boston and the Red Line, moving on to another . . . Or perhaps reaching his final destination of Ostium.




I step through the portal and realize I’ve made a huge mistake. I could be anywhere. Literally fucking anywhere at this point. And any time . . . or I believe anywhen is the correct phrasing du jour. But my heart wanted to chase after Jake and save his ass . . . without actually thinking about the trouble my delectable ass would be in. And now here were are: the first stop on our whirlwind tour of the entirety of the cosmos, from the big bang to the big crunch, and everything in between. Around and around we go, and where we stop . . . nobody fucking knows. Or if we stop, for that matter.

I hear music . . . weird music. I’ve got lights of all colors and . . . neon? Okay, that’s a choice. An aesthetic, but I can dig it. I’m a fan of that whole . . . culture? Fad? Craze? I don’t know what the hell it was really, but it was groovy. Not so much the clothes. But the feel of everything. Kinda Blade Runner but way less fucking bleak. The ‘80s, no? 1980’s. Only they didn’t have space stations back then. And I know I’m in space right now because I can see a window, a so-called porthole on this space station, where I can see ships flying around and . . . robots I guess, droids, whatever . . . a whole bunch of activity going on out there. 

And I’m in a . . . bar? I can see a sign above a bunch of strangely shaped and colorful looking bottles – in neon of course – giving me the name of this fine establishment. 

At first I can’t believe my eyes. I literally rub them to clear them.

CAFE 80s.

As in that Cafe 80s? From Back to the Future 2

No. Fucking. Way.

And then I see I miss-read the sign. The logo, I swear, is just like the one from the movie starring one Michael J. Fox, only with a whole colorful neon Tron vibe, only it’s not 80’s . . . It’s CAFE 2680s.

O-kay. Guess I’m in the . . . 27th century? 

Cool. That’s fine. Totally . . . fine.

Good job I’m in a bar.




I decide to lean into it. What other choice do I really have? I mosey on up to the bar. It’s pretty quiet in here right now. A couple tables occupied, a few people on stools. I choose one at the end of the bar hoping I can keep my distance from everything, a low profile. 

Within moments, a tall, broad, hirsute man with kind eyes and a warm smile is catching my attention.


[Ronald Regan Voice] 

Welcome to the CAFE 2680s, where it’s always morning on Pseudopolis Station, even in the after-noo-noo-noon. [tape winding noise] Would you like to see our happy hour specials? [mic echo] Mr. Gorbachev, tear down those prices!



Well, that’s too fucking much. I had a hunch with the sign, but now you’re even quoting shit from the movie!



But can you guess the movie? Do ya feel lucky, punk?


Are you kidding me? Back to the Future 2 of course. Though if it really is the 27th century . . . that flick sure has survived a long time.


[Loud Announcer voice, boxing bell rings] 

And we have a winner, ladies and gentlemen and everyone in between. There is still hope for Pseudopolis! [Voice switches to tech-bro] With a higher percentage of population recognizing pop culture references the overall population’s quality of life will improve. This is the path to the future. This validates my reason for existing.

Thank you all for coming to my TED talk.

[Canned applause plays]


TED talk? What the fuck is that?


Don’t worry about it, my good new friend. And you have earned yourself any item in this fine establishment on the house. Gratis maximus!

Okay . . . you’re not going make me have a . . . Pepsi free are you?



 I think I might be falling in love with you . . .




Damn, you heard that right? That was meant to be inside my head. Sometimes my inner voice gets confused with my actual voice.


This isn’t getting any better.


Nothing like an adult beverage to make things better. World weary, stumbling into a bar, you look like you’re [Tom Petty voice, guitar sting] runnin’ down a drink.



Okeydokey. Do you . . . [sigh] . . . you probably don’t, but I’m going to ask anyway. Do you by chance know how to make a . . . Long Island Iced Tea?


[Posh voice]

 For you madam, certainly! Jolly good, always fancy a spot of tea myself, y’know. 




Geez, thank god he’s gone. He was getting to be . . . a bit much. If I was Marty McFly, I’d say that things are getting pretty heavy. But I’m not, so I’m just gonna go with the flow. And that’s when a cute brunette dressed in a very colorful uniform perches herself on the stool beside me. She’s got two patches on the front of her uniform: one says Pizza from the Stars. Huh, now that seems really familiar. And the other says: “Ask Me About Carloni’s Pizza Cube.” Okay. That just sounds weird.

Oh, and now she’s looking at me with a big frown on her forehead.


Are you about hit me with some pickup line or you just gonna keep staring at my patches?


Jesus, I’m really sorry. I just . . . I’m new here and I’ve never really heard of a . . . pizza cube before.


You should keep it that way. They’re not good.


Then why are you advertising . . .


[Cutting her off]

Because it’s my job. 


You deliver pizza?




For Carloni’s Pizza?


Yep. Oh, and he’s Irish by the way, which is a whole bag of weirdness you just don’t want to get involved with.


Marisol! How wonderful to have you back at the CAFE 2680’s. And what might I procure for you on this fine morning?


It’s the damn afternoon, BARK33P!


Ahh, but you know the familiar refrain of the CAFE 2680s . . .


[Cutting him off]

Just get me my usual. 


Pretty please.


[English butler] 

Very well, very well.


His name is Barkeep?


Almost, but with the letter E swapped out for threes. He was built back when every robot had to have some gimmick in their name to sell well.


Here is your . . . Long Island Iced Tea, as requested.


What is that? 


It’s . . . a drink from where I come from. 


Does it have alcohol in it?


Oh, most definitely.


Good. Barkeep, change my order. I’ll have what she’s having.


And how exactly do I . . . drink from this . . .


[John Wayne voice] 

Not from around these here parts, are you, pilgrim?


Barkeep! Go. Get. My. Drink. Now!


[sotto vocce] 

Swift exit stage right.


Necesitas ayuda? You just push your thumb here and it pops the nozzle open and then . . . Salud!


Oh right. Thank you. [Drinks.] Oh man.


Strong? Tiene fuerza?


It sure does and that’s a good thing. And here’s our illustrious bartender.



Not a word from you. Add it to my tab. 

So you’re not a local to Pseudopolis then?


No. Definitely not. I’m from . . . Really far away.


Anywhere I’d know? I deliver to a lot places . . . to galaxies far, far away.


I . . . don’t think so. Although Pizza from the Stars . . . that sounds really familiar to me. Is that another pizza delivery place you work for?


No. It’s this app that anyone literally anywhere can order pizza with and get it all paid for and then I deliver it to them, wherever they are in the cosmos.


How do you  . . . get there if it’s like on the other side of the galaxy? 

Or . . . many light-years away?


Well, I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.




Sorry, just a little joke. It’s a trade secret of Pizza from the Stars. Can’t tell you how it all works. Because even though I wouldn’t murder you, my bosses might. So I’m not gonna tell you.


I’m a fan of that choice too. You know, I think I might’ve used the app once. A while ago. You happen to remember a delivery for a guy named Jake Fisher in a place called Ostium?


Do you realize how many pizzas I deliver in a single day?


I know. That was fucking dumb of me. I’m sorry . . .


[Cutting her off] 

A damn lot. More than you can imagine. But I do actually remember that order. Jake Fisher. Ostium. Yep.


Wow. That’s incredible. Did Jakey say something weird that stuck in your head? Was it because of the way he reacted when you said it was a Roanoke pizza? Damn, I wish I could’ve seen his face then.


He did kind of lose it for a bit when I told him that. But no, the reason I remember it so well is because that was my last delivery. I just got back from Ostium and after the whole experience and how far I had to travel, I needed to reward myself with a . . . what did you call it?


Long Island Iced Tea.


Right. I’m not gonna remember that, but it’s good. Hell of a lot better than the pizza your boy Jake ordered, I’ll tell you that.


That’s the second pizza you’ve trash-talked. Is there any pizza you do like?


Nope. Not a bit. Hate the stuff. Why?


Because you’re . . . So you just delivered to Ostium?


Yeah. It was a real weird experience. I was banging on that door for eons until he answered the damn thing. I was about to kick the damn puerta down. Oh and get this, when I was about to leave, he gives me something he called a tip.


How nice of him.


No it wasn’t! I can’t do anything with this! 


Dollar bills. Yeah, I get that. Not much use for paper money in the 27th century. 


No kidding! I didn’t want to waste my breath telling him so I just got out of there.


Is it okay if I have them?


Sure. I can’t do anything with then. Consider it payment for my new favorite drink: the Long Land Spiced Tea.


Yeah, that’s not actually what it’s called.


I don’t care. And the more I drink it, the less I care.


Okay, well, thank you for your time. I’ve got to get going actually. Got somewhere I need to be.


Really? Okay. Whatever. You gonna finish your drink?


No. Don’t have time. You can have it, if you’d like.



You don’t need to tell me twice! Hasta luego! See you in another life. 


You have no idea. Tell Barkeep goodbye from me.


[Snorting sound]



I hop off the stool and walk away from the bar. As soon as I picked up the American money from my world, even if it’s from a time before mine, I feel myself being drawn. Feeling a need to leave this place I’m in. This world. I follow my sense, letting it lead me to a door I hadn’t noticed before. I look around, wondering if I should be more discrete, and then decide I don’t give a fuck. No one’s going to see me again, so what does it matter? 

I walk up to the door, stare at it. Waiting for it to open. Nothing happens. I feel my cheeks heat up and redden as the embarrassment spreads through my body. 

I see a panel and wave my hand in front of it. 

The door mercifully opens and I step through and leave the world of Pseudopolis Station forever.


KANE: On what I thought was going to be a relaxing Sunday afternoon was suddenly altered when Brutus Feels called me with some disturbing news.

FEELS: Lucifer, I’ve found a body. A body in the library.

KANE: Much like the murder mystery. I trust you will be instructing Hercule Poirot to investigate the scene?

FEELS [Exasperation]: What on earth are you talking about?

KANE: Is it alive?

FEELS: What?

KANE: The body, Feels. Is it alive or dead? It’s a simple question. Or perhaps it is something in between?

FEELS: God no. It’s alive. Definitely alive. 

KANE: So why then does this concern England’s finest paranormal investigators?

FEELS: Oh, yes, of course. Well, I searched the man’s pockets to see if I could find out who he is. And he had a lot of . . . Erm . . . Trinkets. 

KANE: What sort of trinkets?

FEELS: Erm . . . A small white rabbit, a yo-yo . . . A micro cassette . . . A small replica of the Space Needle.

KANE: Akin to the one in Seattle, Washington?


KANE: And do you have any idea of their significance?

FEELS: Oh no, not at all.

KANE: Again, I am forced to ask you: Why does it concern our . . . Concentration?

FEELS: Because each of those trinkets are giving off a strong ectoplasmic essence.

KANE: Feels, did you just make that up?


KANE: And what did you actually mean?

FEELS: They’re all giving off . . . For lack of a better word . . . Magic.

KANE [breath]: Very well. I’ll be right over. Which library?


FEELS: The British Library.

KANE: Ahh . . . .


KANE: Feels is correct. Completely. From the moment I enter the small room, hidden within the deep depths of the world renowned institution known as the British Library, I can feel a powerful force being given off each of the trinkets Feels has laid out next to the prone man. I walk up to the body and examine him. He is calm. Breathing normally. His skin is warm, an acceptable temperature for a corporeal being. Nothing supernatural about him. But each of those trinkets is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. They exude a power and sense I have no felt before. All I know is that they are each very powerful. 

FEELS: Anything weird about him?

KANE: No. He appears perfectly normal. Alive and well. But the trinkets . . . Those are . . . What is the link between them all?

FEELS: I have no idea. My head hurts from thinking so hard about them, but I’ve got nothing.

KANE: Exactly. Because there is no link!

FEELS: Okay. So they’re completely random, and he’s  . . . Insane?

KANE: Possibly. We won’t know until he regains consciousness. But each trinket is an . . . Individual item. Unlike the other. From its own place. It’s own . . . World.

FEELS: World? How could you know that?

KANE: I’m not certain. But the sheer power being exuded from each item. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s as if . . . As if they’re talismans. Strong magical items. Possibly religious. Totemic.

FEELS: Powerful . . .

KANE: Yes. A level of power that can only come from another world. 

FEELS: So what’s our next move?

KANE: We wake him up.


JAKE: Where the hell am I?

FEELS: It’s okay. You’re safe. Don’t worry.

JAKE: Am I in England?

KANE: Yes. The British Library in fact.

JAKE: The place where they keep a copy of the original Beowulf?

KANE: I believe so, yes.

JAKE: What am I doing here?

FEELS: That’s what we were hoping to learn from you. That’s why we woke you up.

JAKE: I . . . I was stepping through a door. I’m always stepping through a door it feels like. And it just all became too much. All of a sudden. I can’t remember the last time I slept. I keep going through worlds. Meeting complete strangers. Getting to know a little of their lives. Then I move on. After I get my little trinket. 

KANE: Ah yes, the trinkets.

JAKE: What are those doing out? Were you going through my pockets?

FEELS: Sorry. I was trying to find out who you are. 

[Pocketing sounds]

JAKE: Well, these are all very important to me. I can’t lose any of them.

KANE: Why? 

JAKE: Because I need every single one of them to get back.

FEELS: Back to where?

JAKE: Back to Ostium.

FEELS: And what’s in Ostium?

JAKE: It’s where this all started. And my hope is Monica will be there too.

FEELS: Who’s Monica?

JAKE: The love of my life. I have to find her. Otherwise there will be no point in making it back to Ostium.


JAKE: So what is it you two do?

FEELS: Oh, we’re paranormal investigators.

JAKE: Paranormal . . . Seriously?

FEELS: Yes. Ghosts. Ghouls. Succubi. You name it, we’ve had to deal with it in some fashion or other.

JAKE: So you’re basically . . . Holmes and Watson, except with the supernatural.

[KANE and FEELS simultaneously]

KANE: Preposterous.

FEELS: Exactly.

[Awkward pause]

FEELS: Though I think sometimes it gets a little murky with who’s Holmes and who’s Watson.

JAKE: That’s kinda cool. I like that. Shake up the paradigm a little. 

KANE: Could we move on please. Why are those trinkets of yours so powerful?

JAKE: They’re powerful? You can tell?

KANE: Yes. They exude an . . . Ectoplasmic essence . . .

FEELS: But . . .

JAKE [Cutting off Feels]: Really? You can tell that? I guess you guys are the real deal. I always figured there was something special about them. I chose each one carefully. I could sense it was the right item. The right talisman to take along. Guess that explains it then. 

KANE: Could you possibly elaborate?

JAKE: I’m not sure. My thinking is each piece needs to be brought together back in Ostium and placed on the map table. And then whatever needs to happen to set things right will happen.

FEELS: I don’t know if that really explains anything . . .

JAKE: But I don’t know if it’s enough. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s not. It’s why I need to find Monica. To bring her back to Ostium too. I have a feeling she’s got her own trinkets with her. And when we put them all together, then something will happen. At least that’s my plan.

FEELS: I still don’t really know what you’re talking about. At all.

JAKE: Well, my time draws nigh. I will have to be moving along soon.

KANE: Passing through your next door.

JAKE: Yes.

KANE: And I suppose you will need a trinket from our world?

JAKE: Yes.

FEELS: There’s lot of stuff in this room. Books obviously . . .

KANE: Brutus! Every item in this room is extremely valuable. Priceless!

JAKE: It’s okay. It’s not a book. I can tell. It’s . . . That right there. Grab that for me, will you.

FEELS: You mean this? What is it.

JAKE: The next trinket.

KANE: I will have you know that is a piece of the Sutton Hoo collection. Believed to be part of a belt buckle. Solid gold no less. And as I already mentioned: priceless!

JAKE: Sutton Hoo. I think I’ve heard of that. Don’t they have that gnarly mask? But I thought it was all in the British Museum?

KANE: Some items have been borrowed for study. Also, that particular item is not exuding any power like the other trinkets. Are you sure it is the correct one?

JAKE: Yeah. Pretty sure. Pass it along.

FEELS: Right. Here you go.

JAKE. Thank you. Yep it’s the right one.

KANE: Astonishing. Now I see the power coming off it. Once you touched it. You are a part of this, just as all those items are.

JAKE: Yeah. Looks that way. Thanks for your help, gents. Got to be moving on now. Good luck with the . . . Paranormal investigating. See you in another life.

[Door opening]


[Door closing]

FEELS: Well, that was odd, wasn’t it?

KANE: A veritable conundrum to be sure. Let’s get moving then, shall we?

FEELS: Why is that?

KANE: Because I don’t wish to be here when the stewards of the Library discover a prized piece of British history has gone missing.

FEELS: Right. Let’s use the door we didn’t come in though.

KANE: Good thinking.

[Door opening, closing.]



I’m not one to really care about what other people think, and definitely not about me. But I am starting to wonder if they might think I’m crazy, or at least a little bit weird. Because I’ve been doing this one thing over and over, and the locals are definitely starting to notice. 

It’s the Welcome to Superstition sign. Well, more accurately, it’s the sentence beneath it: WHERE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. I keep coming out here to read those words because so much has happened. And it all started with a key to a mysterious motel room, and then a lot of driving. A fucking lot of driving.

And then the whole Kate Millay thing and the cops saying she wasn’t really missing, but she really was, and then I found her, and got stabbed, and she saved my ass, and then Izzy got us out alive, and then before I knew it the Jack St. James Detective Agency wasn’t just a jumble of words that came out of my mouth but a real place. A real thing. And I’m, like, a real private detective now, I guess. I mean, Izzy got me the hat. So I’m legit now.

And it’s all so fucking unbelievable.

So that’s why I keep driving out to that town sign to read those words.

Also… because of what happened to me before I even took my first case at the Jack St. James Detective Agency. 

Weird things happen in Superstition. Weird things that aren’t possible elsewhere. The walls between believable and unbelievable are thin here, and sometimes there’s crossover, whether you admit it’s happening or not. 

There are those that deny it, and try to keep on having normal lives.

There are those that admit this shit is happening and try to deal with it.

And then there are those that cause it. Like Simon Millay, who didn’t really understand what he was doing, but thought he was doing it for the right reasons, and then something crossed over from the other side. 

[Monster sound effects from Season 1]

Simon made that happen. 

And sometimes things just cross over.

Like Monica did.



Okay. This is a new one. I’m in a town called Superstition. In the blistering sate of Arizona. It looks to be around early twenty-first century. But the place has a feel about it. There’s history here. Like centuries of it. It’s worn into the fabric of this town. It’s buildings just . . . Exude it. Time’s taken it’s toll here, but there’s still a lot of life. Plenty of fucking vitality.

I can definitely see how someone could grow to like it here.

There’s a harshness, but also charm.

So what can I get out of it? What does the quaint town of Superstition have to offer Monica Chase?

The name is definitely weird, even for a town in the States. But it’s definitely making me curious. What’s behind it all? Is it a cool name because some white dude way back when thought it would be a good name, or did it get this name because weird shit happens here?

With how I’ve described the town already, my money’s on the latter.

What with how . . .

Wait! What the fuck was that? 

Damn, it’s gone now. 

Oh, there’s another one.

Is that . . . A fucking ghost?

Shit! It is! And it just looked at me. And kept on moving. Okay, good. That’s good. I’m still not over all that banshee business, so keep going incorporeal spirits. Nothing to see here.

What is up with Superstition?

Oh shit. That gal saw me. Did I say the word ghost out loud? I don’t remember. Maybe?

And now she’s coming over . . . Just fucking fabulous.


JACK: Are you . . . Okay?

MONICA [terse]: Yeah. Why?

JACK: You just yelled “a fucking ghost.”

MONICA: Ahh. Okay. I can see why you thought I might need help.

JACK [sincere]: Because you saw a ghost.

MONICA: I did . . . Did . . . Did I? [Fast] I’m not sure. I saw something. I guess it could’ve been a ghost. Or maybe just a figment of my imagination. Or  . . . Fog?

JACK: It’s just after noon. This is Arizona. That’s not how fog works. You saw a ghost, didn’t you?

MONICA [acceptance]: Yeah, I guess I did. It looked right at me and then kept on going down the street. Which was fine by me. So you . . . Believe me?

JACK: Damn right I do. This is Superstition after all. This is the one place where weird can be an everyday thing.

MONICA: I can think of another place, actually.

JACK: You’re not from here, are you? I haven’t seen you around.This isn’t a very big town and new faces are kind of hard to miss. Especially yours.

MONICA: You got me. I’m from . . . Far away from here.

JACK: Far? How far is far?

MONICA: You know what, I’m gonna level with you. You believe in ghosts. You say Superstition is weird, so I’m guessing you’ve seen some serious shit. Shit that can’t be easily explained. So I’m going to give you my back story.


MONICA: I’m a time traveler of sorts, passing through doors to other worlds in space and time. I’m trying to find . . . My guy, Jake Fisher. He’s also a time traveler but screwed up and now he’s kinda lost in time traveling from place to place. And I’m trying to find him, so we can get back to the place where this all started. A strange town called Ostium.

JACK: That’s what you meant by “another place.”


JACK: Okay . . . Well, the good news is, it’s after noon. Wanna get a drink?

MONICA: That sounds fucking fantastic.



We start with tequila shots, which I was surprised at for like half a second. Then we clinked glasses and down the hatch it went, and man that was some good shit. I can’t remember the last time I’ve taken a shot, but it’s been too fucking long that’s for sure. I join Jack in a round of crown and cokes after, though I also take a look at the menu and order an enchilada. All this alcohol and the little amount of food I’ve had since this wild ride started means I’ll have trouble even finding the next Ostium door, let alone going through it.

I know I’m feeling the buzz, because I feed her a really shitty line:

MONICA: So do you prefer [ice clinking sound], or are you also partial to . . . A Jack and coke?

JACK: (A COME-ON AS A JOKE, THAT TURNS INTO GENTLE TEASING) I’m really not picky. Take what I can get, usually. In fact, some people have said I’m… experimental. But, I’m assuming you’re just talking about how I like to drink my booze, right? 

MONICA: Jesus, I really need to eat something. My mouth is just running itself. Sorry Jack. That was fucking terrible. How about we talk more about Superstition? How did you end up in this . . . Weird fucking town?

JACK: A fifteen-year-old scavenger hunt clue led me here, and then my private eye smarts helped me find that girl.

Jack points to a poster pinned to a board behind the bar. It’s then I really take it in: the whole board is full of missing persons posters. What the fuck is with this town? The poster that Jack is pointing to is at one end and separate from the rest. The girl is Kate Millay. Above the poster someone has written FOUND in big letters with permanent marker.

MONICA: Judging by the rest of the posters, you did something special?

JACK [laughing]: Yeah. I’m kind of the town hero right now [snork]. All it cost me was a knife to the stomach.


JACK: I survived. 

IZZY: And you have your own detective agency because of it.

This comes from the person behind the bar who’s watching Jack with a smile on her face, while Jack has her own smirk and look in her eye.

Are these two dating?

MONICA: I take it you know each other.

IZZY: Jack is one of my regulars. 

JACK: (I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I) You’re regular. Uh.

IZZY: I can’t get rid of her. JACK: [laughing, snork]

MONICA: So I really saw a ghost earlier?

IZZY: Aaaaand that’s my cue. I’m on the clock. I’ll leave you guys to your… ghost hunting.

JACK: That’s Izzy. She’s, um. She’s busy!  And yes. That was a ghost. Or something of the supernatural persuasion.

MONICA: So that sort of thing happens a lot in this town?

JACK: Sorta. There’s a lot of . . . Unexplained stuff that goes on here. Why, is anyone’s guess. Maybe they’re the ghosts of the people that once lived here? That’s been known to happen. Or – you ended up here! Are they maybe something that’s slipped through from another realm?

MONICA: Could they be from other worlds? Possibly from somewhere or somewhen I’ve visited?

JACK: If you find out, let me know. I’m just trying to help the living. My focus is on helping the living of Superstition. My job is to find those people, I guess.

Jack’s pointing at all the missing posters.

JACK: In Superstition, people disappear, sometimes for a short time, sometimes for a long time. And sometimes they don’t come back. I’m trying to change that and help those that need help.

MONICA: Which is . . . Fucking awesome. And that’s not just the booze talking. I’m being serious here. The fact that there’s someone like you doing good.

JACK: Trying to at least.

MONICA: No. You are. It gives me hope, which I can really use right now. If I’m ever going to make it back to Ostium. And find Jake. But after meeting you, it’s given me confidence that I will. 

JACK: Thank you. You know,you got some chutzpah, Monica. 

MONICA: I . . . think that’s a compliment? It’s too bad I have to go. I’m not sure about living in Superstition, but I’m sure we would have some good times.

JACK: Yeah, we would. You have time to eat, right?

MONICA: Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere before I destroy that enchilada.

JACK: And another drink?

MONICA: Why not. One for the road.



We have that last drink. And Monica does destroy her meal. That girl can sure eat. But after hearing her story, it sounds like it’s been a while since she ate. She says she needs a memento from this world she’s visiting. My world. Something small but significant. I can’t think of anything, and then I look at the counter. I hand her a Lady in White bar coaster. It’s a creepy ghost in a white dress, holding a tankard of ale or lager or something. The name of the bar curves around her head. Beneath her it says: Superstition, AZ. 

MONICA: That’s perfect. Thank you. Time to go through another door.

JACK: We say our goodbyes and I follow her over to the bar’s nasty back bathroom. I’m wondering what the hell she’s up to,  but no, it’s the door she’s chosen. She says she knows it’s this one. Then she gives me a quick hug, which I gladly return.

Not looking back, she opens the door and steps through. 

It closes.

For just a second I see something on the other side that definitely wasn’t a restroom.

I think I need another drink.

Before I can start to feel sad about losing Monica I see Izzy looking at me across the room in her certain way.

I can’t help smiling as I walk back over to the bar. 


SFX: Footsteps can be heard coming down the hall as Jason sits up in his creaking, old bed. A few moments after, the footsteps stop as Alexander stands outside of his cell.
JASON Finally. Took you long enough.
ALEXANDER I had some other things to take care of.
JASON (sigh) Not like it actually matters. Venezia doesn’t much care for punctual anyway.
ALEXANDER (laughs) Punctual? I doubt the word’s in her vocabulary.
JASON (chuckle) Yeah, agreed. (beat) Alright. We may as well get the show on the road then, huh?
ALEXANDER (amused) Someone seems pretty gung-ho about seeing a particular doctor.
JASON Well, when your only interaction with people for a few weeks has been non-existent, other than “I’m good” responses, you start to appreciate conversations more.
ALEXANDER Ah, yeah. Guess I never thought about it that way.
JASON Especially since you’re not subjected to stay cooped up in a room for 23 hours of the day.
ALEXANDER Doesn’t mean I’m enjoying myself.
JASON I don’t think anyone is really enjoying themselves here. (beat) Well, expect for Venezia.
ALEXANDER Something’s not right with her. (beat) Anyway.
SFX: Alexander takes out his keys and opens the door to Jason’s cell.
JASON Alright then.
ALEXANDER Let’s get going then.
JASON Lead the way.
ALEXANDER (slight chuckle) Nice try, but go in front. You know how we do things here.
JASON (sigh) Unfortunately.
SFX: Jason starts walking, with Alexander right behind him.
SFX: The pair stop walking.
ALEXANDER Well, here we are.
JASON (sigh) That we are.ALEXANDER If you’re not in the mood to be berated, we can get her to reschedul–
JASON No, it’s fine. I’ll be fine. (beat) Just… it’s been a while is all. Before the lockdown, I was ready to play her games, but now… I don’t know.
ALEXANDER Well, I’ve never had a long enough conversation to be “played” with, but doesn’t sound fun.
JASON You’re right, it’s not, but it’s required.
ALEXANDER That it is.JASON (sigh)
SFX: Jason walks to the door and opens it, entering Venezia’s office. The door slams shut behind him.
VENEZIA Not this one.
SFX: Venezia throws something, crashes hard.
VENEZIA (CONT’D) Or this one.
SFX: Venezia throws another thing at the wall.
JASON Uhh. Dr. Venezia?
VENEZIA (absentmindedly) Huh? Who is it?
JASON It’s me, Jason. Remember, we had an appointment.VENEZIA Oh, right right right. That’s today, huh?
SFX: She stops what she’s doing and opens a drawer, grabbing a bundle of paper. After flicking through them for a few moments, she stops and drops them on her desk.
VENEZIA (CONT’D) It seems that I’ve allowed time to slip by. It’s already Wednesday. (mumble) Could’ve swore it was Sunday.
JASON Have you left your room since the lockdown?
VENEZIA (laughs) Of course not! What reason would there be for that?
JASON I don’t know, talking to people? Seeing the sun?
VENEZIA Pish posh. I don’t need to talk to uninteresting people. I only care for those with stories, but not just any story. (beat) They must chill me to the bone, make me weep tears of joy or sadness or–
SFX: The door opens.
JAKE What about ones that are just outright strange?
VENEZIA My my my. Now, who are you?
JAKE Jake Fisher.VENEZIA And what is Jake Fisher doing in my office?
JAKE Ummm. Yeah, about that… I don’t know how to explain it.
VENEZIA Well, you’re already here so try and dazzle me. (beat)
Otherwise, I’ll need to call the guards. Hmmm. That’d be fun in its own way as well. Well, the choice is yours.
JASON I’d do what she says. From your clothes I’d say you’re not a prisoner, a guard or a worker.
JAKE That’s correct.
JASON So what do you think’ll happen if she calls the guards on some random ass person? I couldn’t see it going well.(beat) It is a supermax prison.
JAKE (surprised) T-this is a… prison? (beat) So you’re a…
JASON A prisoner, yes.
VENEZIA Interesting. There’s no logical way for you to not know what this place is. (beat) Actually, there’s no reason for you to be in this wing at all. Hmmmmm. Interesting indeed.
JAKE Alright, so… I can travel through doors.
JASON (slight chuckle) Obviously. Anyone’s able to do that.
JAKE Okay, I’m not stupid. Obviously people can walk through doors, but this is a bit… different.
VENEZIA Hmmm. Different how? Am I correct in assuming that’s what led you here?
JAKE You are indeed correct. So have you two heard of Doctor Who?
JASON Oh yeah, that old British show?
JAKE Old? No, it’s quite new actually. Recently, renewed for a new season.
JASON Really? I think it’s quite old, but I don’t keep up with shows from the UK. My husband used to, which is the only reason why I’ve seen it.
JAKE Great! Regardless, this’ll make my explanation easier. (beat) So I can do what he does.
VENEZIA What who does?
JAKE Yes, what who does. Dr. Who obviously. (beat) Sometimes, when I open a door, I’ll “jump” to someplace or time.
VENEZIA And this is what’s happened now?
JAKE Yes, I gotta find my way back home.
VENEZIA Before you do find a way home, mind telling me a few stories of your space or time?
JAKE Wait… you two believe me?
JASON I don’t know if I’d say believe, but there’s nothing else that can explain it at the moment.
VENEZIA So will you weave me your tale?
JAKE I-I guess? I mean what do you want to know?
VENEZIA Hmmmm. The most surreal experience you’ve had with this power of yours.
JAKE Hmmm.
SFX: Silence for a beat.
JAKE (CONT’D) Okay. I think I got one, but I’ll also need this guy to tell me something as well.
JASON The name’s Jason. Jason Cawfield.
VENEZIA Oh, how rude of me. (beat) Dr. Stella Venezia at your service.
JAKE Nice to meet you both, but before I tell you this, I want to ask Jason some questions.
JASON What if I don’t answer?
JAKE Then I’ll find my trinket and be on my way.
VENEZIA Trinket? (beat) What is the significance of it?
SFX: Silence for a beat.
JASON (sigh) Just ask your question.
JAKE Jason, what are you in here for? What did you do?
JASON I’m here for a crime I didn’t commit.
JAKE And that crime being?
JASON Ummm. Bi–VENEZIA International bio-terrorism.
JAKE O-oh, I see….
SFX: Silence for a few beats.
JASON I’ve already said that I didn’t do it, but you’re free to believe whatever you want.
JAKE I suppose that’s true. Alright then. I’ll hold up my end.
VENEZIA Fantastic.JAKE Most surreal experience. (beat) So–
VENEZIA One moment.
SFX: Venezia grabs her chair and a notebook as she attentively waits.
JASON Don’t mind her. She’s always like that.
JAKE Oh, o-okay. Anyway, it was one of the first times that I learned about this… “power.” (beat) I wasn’t certain where I actually was, but that was also due to me standing by the door for a little while.
SFX: Venezia is scribbling down notes.
VENEZIA And after entering this unknown place, why did you not go off exploring? If it was me, I’d have been jumping for joy.
JASON I think more sane people would be cautious.
VENEZIA Sane? HA! Since when has being sane ever brought about change? (beat) I’ll tell you, never. It’s always the “crazy” one. The outside of the box thinker. It’s never the sane one.
JASON My point still stands. In regards to your own safety, many would be cautious and take more care.
JAKE (fake cough) Ahem.
VENEZIA Apologies. Please do continue.
JAKE So as I was saying: I stood by the doorway, entranced by the site before me as well as the fact that a random numbered door brought me there.
SFX: Venezia continues to scribble.
VENEZIA Numbered? Why and for what purpose was it numbered?
JAKE The numbers indicate the order that you must enter the doors in. (beat) However, after entering a number, you’re able to go to the next one and all the ones before it are still available.
SFX: Venezia is hastily writing down notes in her notebook.
JASON So where’d you end up? Where’d that numbered door take you?
JAKE Even if I tell you, I don’t think you’ll beli–
VENEZIA No no no. That will simply not do. (beat) You must tell us. (intimidating) No matter how ridiculous, or insane it sounds. Do you understand me?
JAKE Y-yes ma’am!JASON (sigh) She’s at it again.
JAKE So I was playing a game; Geoguesser. Ever heard of it?
JASON Nope. Never. Dr. Venezia?
VENEZIA Is that where any individual can place an item of their choosing in a location and have others seek it out?
JAKE (excited) Yes! That’s exactly it.
JASON I’m surprised. I didn’t take you for the recreational type.
VENEZIA Well, let’s just say I’ve hid a few interesting items here and there in my day.
JASON Yeah… I’d rather not know.
JAKE Anyway, that’s what I did during my free time. I’d play that game. (beat) After playing for a while, I stumbled upon a town called Ostium, which had a population of zero.
SFX: Venezia is scribbling notes.
JASON Zero? So an abandoned town?
JAKE That or just wasn’t updated, but that’s not the strangest thing.
VENEZIA That being the numbered doors you previously mentioned, correct?
JAKE Correct. And once I entered one of the first few doors, I was in North Carolina.
JASON Okay? Is that all…?
JAKE In the 1500s.
VENEZIA Hmmm. If my memory serves me right, that was around the time that town went missing. Roake? Roanke?
JAKE Roanoke.
VENEZIA That’s the one. (beat) (intrigued) Wait. So you’re saying that you’ve seen the lost town?
JAKE I have.
SFX: Venezia is frantically writing down notes.
JAKE (CONT’D) I couldn’t believe my eyes… me in a lost town that shouldn’t exist anymore. (beat) I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but there I was.
JASON So what’d you do? What’d you find?
JAKE I found…
SFX: There’s a hard knock at the door.
JASON Dr. Venezia did you schedule two overlapping meetings?
VENEZIA (sigh) No. I may be a scatterbrain most of the time, but I’d never, ever schedule two conflicting meetings. (beat) If I did, I’d never be able to give my full attention to anyone.
JAKE Okay… then who’s at the door?
VENEZIA Beats me, but I think it’d do you good to leave.
JAKE Leave? Don’t you want to know what happened in Roanoke?
VENEZIA (slight laugh) Trust me. I’d love to. Honestly, I’m tempted to lock you in this room until you tell me all of your stories.
JASON That doesn’t sound insane at all.
VENEZIA Oh hush you. I said that I’d like to. Not that I was going to. Two entirely different things.
JASON Uh huh. Sure.
SFX: Two loud bangs on the door.
JAKE (nervous) O-okay. I’ve gotta go, but I can’t.
JASON And why not? Just go open that door and… vanish?
JAKE That’s what I’m saying. I can’t do that… at least not without a token.
VENEZIA Token? What does it look like?
SFX: Someone tries to angrily open the door, but it’s locked.
JAKE (nervous) T-they aren’t all the same, but it’s always something to represent the world that I was in.
JASON (thinking) Something to represent the world…ah!JAKE What?
SFX: Jason rummages through his pockets.
SFX: He hands Jake a T.INT patch.
JAKE What’s this?JASON This is a patch from the organization I’m apart of. Tinkers International or T.INT.
JAKE Oh! The arms make an “O” in the middle for Ostium! (beat) This has to be it.
JASON Wait really?JAKE Yeah, look.
SFX: Jake puts out his hand to show Jason.
JASON Yeah, the patches don’t have a white “O” in the middle. Strange.
JAKE Yeah, okay. That confirms it then.
VENEZIA I’d say you take that and be off then, no?
JAKE Yes, thank you.
VENEZIA No, thank you. It was a fun story, albeit an incomplete one.
SFX: Someone bangs on the door again.
JAKE I apologize for the story being cut short, but thanks for your help.
JASON Make it back home safe.
JAKE I’ll do my best.
SFX: Jake quickly runs to the door and opens the door, vanishing as someone else stumbles into the room.
VENEZIA (amused) Oh hello director. You do not look pleased. What ever could be the matter?
End of the episode


MONICA: The apartment looks like it was mid-century, the kind that was once meant for a large family but now has been split up into multiple apartments by a landlord who needs to stretch his investment. It’s a pretty old rowhouse, but fairly well cared for. I’m in a hot, wet place, so I’m guessing by the looks of things, it’s a city in the US, probably in the south-east region, what with the heat and extreme humidity. So . . . just fucking great. Not my ideal. There are other mismatched apartments and houses, up and down the street. But I arrived here. Through a door . . . a fucking rip through reality and it put me on the curb. Right in front of this house. Is there a reason for that? Fuck knows. But I’m here and this is where it wants me to go, whatever it is. I’m looking for Jake. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m gonna do. I know my track record hasn’t been exactly great with finding the people I want to through the doors of Ostium, but hey guess what, I found Steve in the end. Sort of. So . . . one for one. 

And my chances for finding Jake look . . . [sarcastic/uncertain] Good?

I mean, he’s . . . somewhere. And yes, that somewhere can be literally anywhere and anywhen . . .

Okay, time to stop feeling shitty.

As I take two steps towards the small steps and gate it hits me . . . it’s physical . . . it’s invisible . . .it’s . . . fucking strong. I can’t see anything, just your normal looking apartment building. But I can feel it, sort of. I can sense it. There, coming from the steps down to the basement apartment. I can sense . . . Them. More than one. Like levels of obstruction, holding me back. They’re . . . Oh shit, they’re wards. This house is under protection . . . From what? And who’s inside? A witch? A wizard? A warlock? Some other magical being that I know nothing about?

To say I’m out of my depth here is a gross overstatement. 

But let’s take a big fucking step back for a moment . . . Mentally and physically. Ahh, that’s better, less pressure from the wards. So . . . How do I know they’re wards exactly? Where did this insight come from? Last time I checked I didn’t know thing one about  . . . Magical thingies. Case in point. And yet some-fucking-how I know wards are protecting this place.

O . . . Kay. Maybe it’s something to do with going through these doors, on my own. Jake said he was changed after the blackness . . . What? Took him? Enveloped him? He survived, came out the other side, and was stronger for it. Maybe I’m going through a similar thing. I sure am speculating and pontificating like him. 

So how does one get past or through a ward? 

Let’s find out . . . I guess.

[Short break]

I move forward again and immediately feel the pressure. I walk slower but don’t stop. I’m just forcing myself against them. It’s like walking underwater, and the water’s like “heavy” water. I start to feel pricks on my skin, like tiny needles, or micro shocks. It’s very uncomfortable, and unsettling, but . . . bearable. Then things start to heat up. More than before. The tiny needles have been sitting on hot coals. I start grimacing, then moaning a little. 

Then just like that they’re all gone. I’m pain free and walking normally again.

I guess I . . . Broke through?

I walk down the steps and make it to the door. A metal figurine of a woman with the lower half of a snake is nailed above the door, a small black felt bag hanging from her hands. The door is also ajar. Okay. Didn’t expect that. 

I let my heart get closer to its usual beat, take a breath, and push open the door.

With my first step inside I hear a confident woman’s voice say: 

KALILA: Hello Monica, I’ve been expecting you.



KALILA: February 16th. [TENTATIVELY 02/16/20] Moon is full. Sun is in Gemini.

The visitor’s name is Monica. I can’t really say client because she’s not one. Although she did offer to pay me for my services after we were done . . . Until she discovered she didn’t have any money. She was very apologetic about it. I didn’t give her a hard time . . . her arrival came under unusual circumstances. Last night I had a dream that today I would be visited by a stranger who would need my help. I know better than to ignore prophetic dreams. They come few and far inbetween, but it’s usually best practice to pay attention. The only word I heard in the dream was Monica. My day began auspiciously: the alarm failed to wake me up at the set time; the shower had lukewarm water; my breakfast tipped over onto the floor; and when I went to take my first sip of tea, the handle came off the mug. Fortunately, I didn’t get burned, but I did have to clean up and make a whole new cup of tea and a bowl of cereal. I should’ve been annoyed, but instead I recognized these signs for what they were: something big was disrupting the energy around me. I needed to be ready for it, or rather for this Monica person. 

I felt the tension in the air when she arrived. I felt her making contact with the wards, then forcing her way through them. I have had those wards for a long time and each week I re-strengthen them, making sure they give me enough information about what or who comes in contact with them. She didn’t break them exactly, as anything attacking would; she was merely able to . . . Pass through without giving the required information. At least she didn’t seem dangerous. Okay, I was curious.  

When she poked her head through the door I said . . .


KALILA: Hello Monica, I’ve been expecting you.

MONICA: You . . . Er . . . You have?

KALILA: Yup. Please come in.

MONICA: Thank you. I . . . Are you here to help me? Is that why I’m . . . In your lovely home.

KALILA: You don’t sound certain.

MONICA: Oh, I barely have a fucking clue.

KALILA: No problem. We’ll figure it out together; let’s get started. Please take a seat . . . Here. Would you like some tea?

MONICA: That sounds . . . Heavenly.

KALILA: I’ll be right back. 

[Short break]

MONICA: This is fucking delicious. What is it?

KALILA: Oolong.

MONICA: I’ve got to get me some. Sorry, do you mind the swearing.

KALILA: Nah, it’s fine. However you need to express yourself. Feel free.

MONICA: Thank you.

KALILA: Now: why are you here?

MONICA: I thought you were going to tell me that . . . With the tarot cards.

KALILA: If you think that’s why you’re here . . . Are you familiar with tarot?  Have you had a reading before?

MONICA: No and no.

KALILA: Very well. Do you have any idea why you’ve shown up on my doorstep? What has brought you here?

MONICA: Well . . . I’ve been traveling through doors. Going from place to place and . . . Time to time. I’m searching for someone. [Breath] I’m looking for Jake Fisher. He’s lost. And I need to find him.

KALILA: A traveler, huh? Interesting. This is something I can work with. I’m going to do a three card reading . . .

MONICA: So . . . Where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going?

KALILA: If . . . If that’s what you want, it can be that yes. Do you want that?

MONICA [thinking for a moment]: Yes. That’s what I’d like. If that’s okay?

KALILA: Of course. So . . . First card is Six of Cups. You recently found something or someone you’ve spent a long time looking for. You were reunited with this person, and possibly others. Also a return to a familiar place. A home of sorts. Not necessarily your true home, but a place you are comfortable and familiar with. 

MONICA: Yes. I found Steve. My boy. And Jake. And we were all back together in the Ostium Network. But then something happened. Something . . . Fucking bad. We had to stop someone . . . Something from attacking us. From attacking the place we were in. It was a hard fight. And at the end of it . . . After we’d won, we were all exhausted. This is why Jake didn’t arrive right behind me. He . . . Fuck, I don’t know. Let his mind wonder maybe? Lost his focus for a second. Succumbed to his tiredness. And he went through a door and it didn’t take him to where it should. Back to us. It took him somewhere else. Possibly .  . . Probably very far away. In time and space. And now . . .

KALILA: Yes, the next card. The Chariot, reversed. You feel lost. Without direction. You know how to get from place to place. Through the doors. But you don’t know where you’re going. And you don’t know if it’s helping. Or if you’re just putting yourself in a deeper hole.

MONICA: Yes. I feel . . . Lost. Lost is the right word. Each time I go through another door there’s a part of me wishing Jake is going to be on the other side. But it’s only a small part of me. Most of me assumes he won’t be and I’m gonna be in some other strange and new place. 

KALILA: I see. So let’s see where you believe you need to be then. The . . . uh. I . . . what the . . .

MONICA: What? What is it?

KALILA [concerned]: I’ve . . . I’ve never seen this card before.

MONICA: You never drawn it in a reading?

KALILA: No. I mean I’ve literally never seen this card before. It’s not part of my tarot deck, even though the style is the same. This . . . This doesn’t feel right.

MONICA: Can I see it?

KALILA: I don’t want to touch it.

[Chair moving sound]

MONICA: Goddamn. It’s . . . It’s a big black O. For Ostium. It’s gotta be. And inside is . . . Is that the map table? Yeah. Somehow it is. Why is it that?

KALILA [confused]: Don’t ask me.

MONICA: It’s Ostium. The reach of Ostium. It’s made it to here. In this time and place, somehow. [Shock] Unbelievable. But why the map table? Unless . . . Unless . . . I need to get the talismans. The little trinkets for the map table. 

KALILA: I don’t know what you’re talking about . . .

MONICA: It’s gotta be that. That’s how I can get back on track. How I can find Jake, and how I can get us back to Ostium. Just like we did before. It would be fucking unbelievable if it didn’t all make sense.

KALILA [peeved]: Tell me about it.

MONICA: Thank you. Thank you . . . Gosh, I’m so sorry. I never asked for your name.

KALILA: Kalila Stormfire.

MONICA: That . . . is a fucking amazing name. Thank you Kalila, so much for your help. This is what you do, isn’t it? Helping others in this way.

KALILA: Yes. And sometimes it pays the rent and provides food.

MONICA: Fuck! You’re right. I need to pay you for your help. Let me . . . [rustling] Shit, I’m sorry. I haven’t got a dollar on me. I feel really bad.

KALILA: It’s . . . It’s okay, Monica. Honestly, this has been an . . . Educational experience, for both of us I’m sure. And one I’m not soon to forget. 

MONICA: Can I . . . Can I ask one more favor?

KALILA: Certainly. If I can grant it.

MONICA: Can I take this card with me? I think . . . I think it’s the talisman to be taken from this place.

KALILA: Yes. Yes, please do. It clearly isn’t meant to be with me, in my deck.

MONICA: Thank you. And I’ve taken up enough of your time. I’ll be leaving now.

KALILA: Monica?


KALILA: Be careful . . . I can see you love him. And sometimes love can easily cloud the mind and stray you from your path. Just: be careful.

MONICA: Thank you, Kalila. I’ll . . . I’ll never forget you.

KALILA: I wish you well, traveler.

[Footsteps, door opening, door closing]


KALILA: A very strange case, even for me. I’ve heard of interdimensional travelers before, but they are, like, super rare. This Ostium place…it’s probably not something to mess with. And that card . . . Never seen anything like it. The sheer power and ability it would take to manifest such a thing . . . that’s got some oomph behind it. And I truly hope it never happens to me again. I’m not qualified for this kind of magick, let’s be honest. Let’s stick to headaches and personal existential crises, right?

Well, I believe that’s enough fun for one day.

End session.